Spot what’s wrong with the picture

You guys are all connected to the news, so I know that you already know about the Supreme Court decision forcing California to release up to 46,000 prisoners because of the appalling conditions in California prisons.  As a California resident, I’m less than thrilled about the fact that people who ought to be behind bars will be unleashed and prowling.  Alana Goodman is concerned about the burden this will place on the Federal healthcare system (e.g., Medicare), since California has bankrupted itself and can neither afford to house these people (in prison) or care for them (outside of prison).

But I want you to tell me what’s really wrong with California — and the hint I’ll give you is the picture in the Goodman article.  Something about that picture struck me right between the eyes and speaks of a much deeper, more tragic and more economically destabilizing than just the prison system problem.

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Left will make you all suffer until your dying days. It is for your own good, they say. And it will be paid for using your own money and your own lifeblood, even if it isn’t.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Btw, Z is afraid of my quote about executing 90% of bureaucrats and Leftists. That’s because he doesn’t know what to do with all those criminals to begin with. I do though.

  • Danny Lemieux

    My understanding is that the excess capacity of prisoners to be released is about the same number as the number of illegals in prison.

    My flip recommendation would be is release those incarcerated for minor crimes and take all the illegals and shove them back across the border. That solves two problems.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Hmm.  Maybe I overreacted to that picture, but I found it very upsetting, for reasons that I’ll still keep close to the vest for now.

  • Tonestaple

    The first thing I noticed was the skin color of all the prisoners.  Looks like nearly all of them are black with a small sprinkling of Hispanic.  We’ve all read about how many black men are in prison, and this is a very graphic representation of that.  However, they are presumably in prison for doing crimes.  I have nowhere to go with this but it’s what I see.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    That’s exactly right, Tonestaple.  The racial make-up of the picture just struck me between the eyes because it is such a graphic reminder of the problems within the American black community.  Fifty years of the “Great Society,” and this is what our prisons look like.

  • Charles Martel

    The facile explanation for why you see so many black faces in the photo is racism. Namely, the cliched racism that reactionaries like Biden, The New York Times, HuffPo and the usual organs of correctness try to peddle as the perpetual turf of the GOP and white men.

    But the real racism, as Book correctly notes, is the near genocide that liberals have inflicted on blacks since 1965: the horrid public schools with indifferent, uneducated, unionized teachers; the welfare system that destroyed black manhood and young men’s sense of responsibility for their children; the frontal assault by Planned Parenthood—with complete and enthusiastic Democratic Party support—of setting up abortuaries in black neighborhoods that now kill more than 30 percent of all black babies in the womb; and a rollicking “you go!” attitude toward the debased pop culture and treatment of women as sluts that holds sway in the ghetto.

    Then throw in the contemptuous “racism of low expectations” of affirmative action, which has poisoned race relations by making blacks a permanently suspect class of underachievers who cannot prosper without paternalistic winks of the white eye.

    Why would anybody be surprised that if you treat an entire group of people as hapless and hopeless without your White Massa monthly stipend and your pathetically crappy education system that so many of them turn out like the punks in the photo?

  • Old Buckeye

    In addition to the racial makeup of the men in the picture, I was struck by the fact that they are all doing nothing. Don’t they have jobs within prison walls? In Ohio, the convicts used to make all the state’s license plates (don’t know if they still do). I thought the idea was to rehab offenders. Working while using the state’s resources to house and feed them might be a start.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Ymarsakar: Z is afraid of my quote about executing 90% of bureaucrats and Leftists. 

    “And thus we sit together now, 
    And all night long we have not stirred, 
    And yet God has not said a word!”

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Z is not God, only at best a fallen angel.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Charles Martel: But the real racism, as Book correctly notes, is the near genocide that liberals have inflicted on blacks since 1965:

    Yes, because we all know prisons were so much less racist before then. 
    http://creativethinkersintl.ning.com/profiles/blogs/slavery-by-what-other-name


  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Charles MartelBut the real racism, as Book correctly notes, is the near genocide that liberals have inflicted on blacks since 1965:

    Yes, because we all know prisons were so much less racist before then. 
    http://creativethinkersintl.ning.com/profiles/blogs/slavery-by-what-other-name/

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Moderation queue, please.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Charles Martel: But the real racism, as Book correctly notes, is the near genocide that liberals have inflicted on blacks since 1965:
    Z responds: Yes, because we all know prisons were so much less racist before then. 

    Lemieux clarifies: I believe that what Charles M is referring to is the State intervention initiated by LBJ’s War on Poverty, which launched an assault on black Americans that had already begun a climb out of general poverty, following WWII. The destructive effects of the War on Poverty have been reviewed by many scholars, such as Thomas Sowell. The large majority of informed people know this.

    http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/politics/poverty/3864-War-Poverty-Revisited.html

  • JKB

    Here is Dr. Sowell’s explanation of the negative impacts of the “changes” in the 1960s on the black population.  Breaking Jim Crow in the South was a good thing but the Great Society damage blacks even in the North and is now inexorably damaging whites, hispanics, and any group that finds welfare a way of life rather than an emergency safety net.

    Facts and Fallacies with Thomas Sowell: Chapter 3 of 5 – Uncommon Knowledge – National Review Online

  • Beth

    The picture shows me that they are all clean shaven, seem to have decent shoes, socks and clothing, orange, yet clean.  Shows bunk beds.  Do they have to share?  Are they really so crowded?  My kids have to share beds.  We have had three or more to a room in our home.  I know this sounds ignorant to some, but seriously, they committed a crime, were convicted, sentenced, get fed, clothed, sheltered–are conditions that horrible?  I agree with the poster above that asks the question, “Why are they just lying around?”  Couldn’t someone come up with something for them do to that is productive?

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com Don Quixote

    Send all the illegals back over the border and release all the drug offenders and there would be lots of room in prison.

    The picture may be somewhat deceiving, since the prisoners sharply self-segregate.  The other side of the room may have been as white as that side was black.  Does anyone have the actual stats on the racial make-up of the California prison system?

  • Libby

    The worst part is that they will have slim employment prospects when they get out. I imagine that most of the jobs that they are qualified for, and are offered by businesses that would consider hiring an ex-con, are already occupied by illegal immigrants and “downsized” people who have taken jobs below their level of schooling/expertise in order to make ends meet. Not exactly an ideal situation for ensuring they become productive member of society. It will be interesting to see what the rate of recidivism is for these 46,000 prisoners.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Danny Lemieux: I believe that what Charles M is referring to is the State intervention initiated by LBJ’s War on Poverty, which launched an assault on black Americans that had already begun a climb out of general poverty, following WWII.

    Yes, LBJ and MLK, both of whom advocated anti-poverty welfare programs, helped launch an assault on black Americans. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: The destructive effects of the War on Poverty have been reviewed by many scholars, such as Thomas Sowell. The large majority of informed people know this.

    That’s funny. The first sentence in the essay says “Neither the media nor most of our educational institutions question the assumptions behind the War on Poverty” which would seem to directly contradict your statement about informed people.

    In any case, Sowell’s essay doesn’t present an argument, but merely states his claim. Sowell often seems to ignore contrary evidence. In many cases, at least, welfare support can reduce poverty.

    Kenworthy, Do Social-Wefare Policies Reduce Poverty? A Cross-National Assessment, Social Forces 1999. 
     
    The problem with the American system was that with the Vietnam War undermining the Johnson Administration, and the assassination of crucial civil rights leaders, the program spun out of control, and may not have met its original aims of lifting people into self-sustaining lives. That is, until welfare reform, signed by Clinton in 1996, which reestablished the link between welfare and work. 
     

  • Danny Lemieux

    Danny Lemieux: The destructive effects of the War on Poverty have been reviewed by many scholars, such as Thomas Sowell. The large majority of informed people know this.
    Z responds with astonishment: “That’s funny. The first sentence in the essay says “Neither the media nor most of our educational institutions question the assumptions behind the War on Poverty” which would seem to directly contradict your statement about informed people.”

    Danny Lemieux stands by his statement.

  • Charles Martel

    “. . .the program spun out of control, and may not have met its original aims of lifting people into self-sustaining lives. That is, until welfare reform, signed by Clinton in 1996, which reestablished the link between welfare and work.”

    LOL! “Gosh, Mrs. Burnside, the operation may not have met our original goal to amputate your husband’s gangrenous right foot. The surgeon kind of spun out of control. Sorry about that entire left leg.”

    Clinton signed welfare reform under immense pressure as he triangulated his way back to the center. The Democratic Party was beside itself with predictions of—wait for it—starving children if their mommies were forced to work for their sustenance. (Daddies were never in the picture. I wonder why.)

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Charles Martel: Clinton signed welfare reform under immense pressure as he triangulated his way back to the center.

    Clinton *campaigned* on welfare reform. However, Republicans kept the pressure on, while Clinton insisted upon providing the help required to train and employ people. That, and along with the expanding economy providing the necessary jobs.

  • Charles Martel

    Yes, Zach, what I said. Thanks for agreeing.

  • abc

    There are a large number of prisoners in California that found themselves behind bars after the three-strikes initiative, which forced judges to send people away for hard time even in cases in which the third infraction was a misdemeanor posession of majuana charge.  A great number of people familiar with California have pointed out that the explosion in prison populations occurred after the three strikes rule was implemented.  This has little to do with the liberals in ’65 and more to do with conservatives in the more recent past.  One other aside, it was apparently a lot easier for wealthier people, who are disproportionately white, to avoid jail time even under the three strikes rule, since they could work the system with lawyers in a way that indigent defendants could not.

    Crime is a very complex social phenomenon.  There is not even a clear understanding about why violent crime rates started to decline in the late 80s and have continued to decline to this day.  I have seen interesting work around how Roe v Wade played a key role in this process, but even those conclusions have been contested.  In any case, it amazes me to watch partisans insist that they know exactly who is at fault.  it is easy to have opinions when you are not required to prove them in fact.  Mythology over empiricism.  Partisanship over problemsolving.  Political narrative over statistic proof.  I love how irrational the human mind is…

    But here is the bottom line.  First, there are serveral alternatives that can be used in order to avoid releasing prisoners that should not be let out.  And second, lack of funds is not an excuse for a society to allow one prisoner to needlessly die every 6-7 days just because taxpayers are unwilling to pay for things that government is clearly responsible for.